5.13.2019

The Best View In The City


In my completely biased opinion I think the best view in the city to watch the sunset is the high rise apartment of my dear friends Jill & Steve McKenzie.  I have had the opportunity to see it set more than once and I can tell you it may be better than any beach sunset, it is only missing the crashing waves and white sand.  There is something about the view from the McKenzie home that just makes me happy.  Maybe it is because I am with kind friends or maybe it is due to the stunning home itself.  I can tell you it is nothing short of spectacular!



The first time I visited my friends I was not sure which apartment was theirs as I stepped off the elevator.  I had a few doors to choose between and the moment I spotted the over sized lion head door knocker I immediately was able to rule out all the other options.  From the moment you step inside the door you are immediately welcomed with incredible art and fabulous design.  Steve is an interior designer and fine artist and he and his wife Jill have curated a well collected home full of all the things they love most.  Right sizing from their "home in the burbs" with three children and a busy life they relocated to this apartment a little over four years ago when their youngest headed to college.  Steve has told me that they weren't exactly sure what they wanted when they first began their search and I honestly can not imagine them anywhere else.  The view is breathtaking any time of the day but the sunsets each evening make this a dream home.


I love their home and I had so many questions about it ... and I am lucky to have so many talented friends willing to share their homes and stories with me.  I think Steve & Jill are fascinating as I am still in the thick of it with kids all over and a full home.  I would love to keep our home forever, but I know my husband is hoping we will trade for something smaller.  I am a city house and he is the country mouse hoping for a driveway that is long and the nearest neighbor is five miles away.  Luckily for us we have some time to come to a decision.  When I saw the images of the McKenzie's home in Atlanta Magazine a few months ago I knew I wanted to cover it.  It is beautiful, so incredibly functional and I was so interested in their story.  They may have "downsized" their amount of space, but they didn't skimp on anything, especially the design.  It was a labor of love and it is perfection.


Tell me how you found your apartment ... I know there must be a great story? 

We made a decision to right-size out of our home we raised our children in, when our youngest graduated high school and went off to college. Empty nester syndrome, I guess. We had no idea where we wanted to be and in fact, not even the type of lifestyle we wanted. We knew we wanted to be near our business with a short commute and to be in the city. As it turns out, our real estate agent knew us better than we knew ourselves. Our current home was the first thing we looked at but at the time, going from over 6,000 sq ft to less than 2,000 seemed impossible. We looked all over the city and felt a little like Goldilocks, too hip, too small, to urban pioneer, too old. One day we had looked all day in Castleberry and then said, lets go look at the first one again. It was then that we could see ourselves in the space and what our new life would look like.


When you purchased the space, what was it like? 

Dark, there were shutters on all the windows and you could not see out. Colorful, it was all red and yellow, looking very 80’s. Cut up, we removed a total of 12 doors from that small condo. Dated, it had the original galley kitchen with the original 1969 metal cabinets. Lot’s of work.


What were your goals for the space? 

We wanted to create a home for this next phase of our lives that reflected the way we like to live, lot’s of time with family and friends, while representing our design aesthetic. The other big goal was to celebrate the amazing views that the condo had.



Do you have a favorite area or areas? 

Our absolute favorite is the living room. The view of the skyline is something that is amazing anytime of day or night. It is where we spend our time with family and friends. It has our favorite pieces and art and just brings great joy when we are in it alone or sharing it with friends. Our second favorite would be changing the bedroom so we can be in bed and see the skyline.


What was your biggest challenge? 

Space planning. Trying to curate the essence of your prior life and keep what is important and then configure the living spaces to make it work for your lifestyle is a challenge in the right-sizing process. We can say that 4 years in, there is very little we would change. It works very well, even with our daughter moving back home after school it works well. 






What would you say is one item (or category of items) that you parted with and never regretted?

I had a large collection of Madonnas and it went to a hone of a collector that I knew would love them. Also specific artworks were hard to part with, but when I heard the new owners enthusiasm over the pieces it was easy to let them go.

Anything you knew wasn't up for negotiation and was a keep for sure?

There were two items that were coming with us no matter. The abstract figurative work by TL Lange in the middle of our gallery wall in the living room as well as the gothic alter that is now our bar. I am embarrassed to admit this as a designer but originally I planned on the alter being in our entry, but you could not open the door!!! But it was staying somewhere!!!



What is it like living in such a magical space with a view that is unmatched in the city?

Well, you have absolutely hit on what we love best. Each evening the sunsets to the west off the dining room are magical. They are better than any beach sunset ever and no two are the same. The skyline, however is what really makes the space. We love art, but no art can compete with what the skyline offers any hour of the day.

Isn't their home spectacular?  I truly adore the McKenzie's ... they are lovely, warm and such kind people.  Steve is so talented and his home is perfect example of the work he creates.  They make a perfect pair and they are entertaining masters. I have had the opportunity to spend such lovely time with them and each one leaves my heart so full. I love how collected and perfect their home is reflecting who they are and the life they have built together.  If you ever get the opportunity to have cocktails at their home, do not miss.  The sunset will make the hand crafted cocktail he has created for you taste even better!

Happy Monday ... 

Images by Anthony Masterson

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